Police are asking people to stop giving money to those begging on the streets in Belfast city centre.
They say evidence indicates that the money is often spent on drugs and they are asking people to instead consider donating to charities which work to support people on the streets.
“People who misuse drugs are dying in the greater Belfast area each week. What many consider an act of kindness, giving money, IS contributing to the problem,” said a police spokesperson.
“Please, please STOP giving money to people you see.”
Begging has become a persistent problem on the streets of Belfast and in other towns around Northern Ireland.
“Sadly, evidence indicates that money given to those begging is often spent on drugs – making problems worse. GIVE instead to the various charities working tirelessly to help support these unfortunate individuals through finding them accommodation, feeding them and rehabilitating them.
“It may seem counterintuitive, but please help these people by NOT giving them money,” added the spokesperson.
Several years ago, it was reported that a repeat offender with an alcohol problem made up to £170 a day ‘busking’.
Another young woman was also reported to be funding a £125-a-day heroin habit through street begging.